About IF THE POET – Ian French

    IF, (Ian French) is an internationally renowned poet and spoken word artist, known for his electrifying, highly emotional performance style and personal, spiritually charged poetry.

    He is the subject of two highly acclaimed documentaries;  IF THE POET, produced by CBC (Canadian broadcasting Corporation) and directed by filmmaker Kim Saltarski, which chronicled his entry into the competitive world of slam poetry at age 50, and a short film produced by BRAVO!, also entitled IF THE POET.

    IF describes his poems as “channeling the wisdom of Spirit, the rage of the wounded and the yearning that resides in every human heart.”  He says “every poem I write is a ‘shout out’ to the sacredness of our days, a three-chord party jam, and a tribute to the triumph of love over fear.”

    IF is the 2014 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion and a member of the 2013 National Champion Toronto Poetry Slam Team.  He is also a prolific writer of traditional page poetry.

    He performs regularly at events and festivals around the world and conducts writing and poetry workshops across Canada.

    IF attributes his meteoric rise in poetry to his mentor, the celebrated Canadian poet, Ian Keteku, who IF says “not only taught me how to write poetry but how to think poetically.  Says IF. “My life pivoted when I met Keteku.  It’s been one of the major blessings of my life.” 

    Although he is best known as a poet, IF is also a prolific songwriter and played in several bands he describes as having had “one foot in the garage and one foot in the grave.”

    As documented in his signature poem ‘Call It Love’,  IF has been with his life partner, Lise St-Arnaud for more than 35 years. They met in Banff Alberta in 1980 and have one son, Matisse St-Arnaud-French.  They divide their time between their home in Toronto and ‘Wanakawin’, their Poetry Retreat on Big Wind Lake near Bracebridge, Ontario.

    IF says “Poetry is the face of love. It is the voice of prayer.  It is the silence in music.  But most importantly,  it’s a transcendent experience which weds one to the human story and reminding us again and again of the magnificence of all creation.”